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Downtown Revival

March 05, 1994

Does our downtown Ventura have a vision, or are we living in a bygone era?

The end of innocence for downtowns across the country came with the concurrent auto/baby boom following World War II. The first to recognize these changes was J. Levitt, who turned a Long Island potato farm into Levittown, setting off an explosion of tract housing that inures to our populace to this day. The advent of this explosion signaled the end of the central core concept of city builders.

Times have changed, and we have not. America's downtowns have become service-centered as opposed to commerce-centered entities. The future is now, if we are willing to accept as inevitable the permanence of change. Downtown Ventura, as it stands, cannot accommodate major department stores or discount houses.

The survival of our downtown is keyed to a recognition that tourism is but one of the essential elements in the mix. Another part is the development of housing, which will encourage the development of transportation facilities, which will revitalize the support services which in turn attract tourists.

People are the vital link. They create the need for the marketplace to fill. Other peripheral benefits are to be found in the preservation and extension of whatever greenbelt is left.

All of the downtown associations laid end to end won't have the singular impact of a planned city center.



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